Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

History - Archive Articles

Latest news articles about London’s long history.

A Tunnel Deep Under Trafalgar Square

Did you know there is a tunnel running deep under Trafalgar Square? Nope, neither did I as it happens!

Apr
08
2010

How the railway telegraph helped arrest a murderer in 1845

Not long after the New Year festivals of 1845 had died down, the news media of the time was much occupied with the tale of a murder in Slough. The story was notable for quite a few reasons, thanks to

Apr
07
2010

Map of London in 1787

If you thought the animosity between North London and South London was a recent concept, then have a look at this map of London from 1787 which barely even notices that South London exists! OK, actually a map of Middlesex

Mar
05
2010
The Patent Elevator and Observatory – of 1856
The Patent Elevator and Observatory – of 1856

The Patent Elevator and Observatory – of 1856

An interesting article from a copy of the Illustrated London News of October 1856 that I recently acquired – on a mobile elevating platform that would have been used to peer over the walls of a city being besieged by

Mar
02
2010

A Map of Westminster from 1593

Another small map to add to my collection – this time a reprint of a map by John Norden for Queen Elizabeth. Published originally in Speculum Britanniae in 1593 are considered to be the best representations known of the English

Feb
25
2010

Dr Scott’s Electric Hair Brush – from Oct 1882

Whenever a new energy or force was discovered in the past, it wasn’t long before someone tried to see if it could be used as a medical treatment. As most things can treat something though, it wouldn’t be long before

Feb
23
2010
Free membership of The Georgian Group
Free membership of The Georgian Group

Free membership of The Georgian Group

If, like me, you are rather keen on heritage, you might have come across The Georgian Group – a charity that works to preserve Britain’s heritage. The Georgian Group is the national charity dedicated to preserving Georgian buildings and gardens.

Feb
12
2010

The man who saved our industrial heritage

Today (Thursday) marks the centenary of L.T.C. (Tom) Rolt’s birth on 11 February 1910. Who? Well, Rolt was responsible for saving one of the world’s greatest collections of industrial heritage in the form of Britain’s canal and railway network. He

Feb
11
2010
London in the 1950s – archive film footage
London in the 1950s – archive film footage

London in the 1950s – archive film footage

A heads up that the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square is showing archive films of London in the 1950s as part of a free event later this month. The official fluff reads: Take a trip back in time to

Nov
03
2009

Ghosts on the London Underground

Considering the dark dark corners, strange noises and abandoned tunnels that litter the soil under London, it is possibly no surprise that stories of hauntings have emerged over the years. On Wednesday, a couple of authors who have recently written

Oct
30
2009

Charles Dickens’s England – A Documentary

Wandered over to the Genesis Cinema in Mile End last night to see a showing of a lengthy documentary about Charles Dickens – specifically the places he lived in and how they influenced his writings. Narrated by Derek Jacobi, the

Aug
12
2009

An Old Napoleonic Bollard in Wapping?

A few months ago, The Greenwich Phantom made me aware of the fact that early bollards used on pavements came from cannons captured during the Napoleonic war. The cannons were apparently stuck in the ground with a cannon ball on

Jul
26
2009

London’s Lost Tunnel

While tunnel affectionados will be familiar with the “Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic Railway – as part of that, I came across an article in The Windsor Magazine of April 1900. I managed to find a copy, only to find that

Jul
11
2009
How London Bridge Fell Down
How London Bridge Fell Down

How London Bridge Fell Down

Tomorrow (Sat) will mark either the laying of the foundation stone, or the completion of the construction of the first London Bridge - the date seems a bit confused.

Jul
10
2009

Gosh and Golly – its a tidal mill

Dan Cruickshank, the softly spoken mutterer of goshes and gollys on BBC2’s various history and architecture programs has been roped in to front a fund raising campaign for the Tidal Mills at Bow. I was there the other month for

Jul
05
2009
A Horn Fair Procession From Rotherhithe to Charlton
A Horn Fair Procession From Rotherhithe to Charlton

A Horn Fair Procession From Rotherhithe to Charlton

As much as a admire the Victorians for many achievements, they did have two rather annoying habits. One was to rewrite, or at least censor ancient history when they discovered the supposedly enlightened folk were rather keen on Bacchanalian propensities.

Jun
28
2009

Drive Sheep Over London Bridge

If you came here looking for details about the sheep drive on Wed 21st Sept 2011, it’s been cancelled by the organisers. Sorry. Fancy acting like a Freeman of the City of London and drive some sheep over London Bridge?

Jun
19
2009

London’s Tidal Mill

Lurking round the corner from a gigantic Tesco in Bow, East London is what is thought to be the world’s largest remaining tidal mill and thanks to the failure of the aforementioned Tesco to turn it into a car park,

May
03
2009
The arrival of Big Ben at Westminster in 1858
The arrival of Big Ben at Westminster in 1858

The arrival of Big Ben at Westminster in 1858

I have a small hobby of collecting old copies of the Illustrated London News – a venerable newspaper which was first published n 1842. I acquired a few more copies last week and scanning through the collection this weekend, came

Apr
26
2009
The Tudors – special preview screening of Series 3
The Tudors – special preview screening of Series 3

The Tudors – special preview screening of Series 3

A note about an event that needs booking tickets for as the British Library is hosting a special preview screening of the first episode of series 3 of the TV series, The Tudors. This season sees Henry VIII increasingly in

Apr
13
2009

Supper, Restoration Diaries and a Hymn

I wandered along to a lecture this evening which was due to discuss the relationship between two of the great Diarists of the English Restoration period, being Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn. It was billed as Supper and a Lecture,

Apr
06
2009

The DLR’s Brief History of The Docklands

Somehow missed this, but the DLR has published A Brief History of Time the Docklands as a station by station guide. The booklet, some 28 pages long gives 2-3 paragraphs to the history of the area which each station is

Mar
22
2009

Crossness on The Victorians

Over the past few weeks, my Sunday evenings have been delighted by the presence of Jeremy Paxman presenting a TV series on The Victorians, looking at the history of that era through the art it inspired. Wonderful stuff and more

Mar
09
2009
The Horrid Murder of His Majestie, King Charles I
The Horrid Murder of His Majestie, King Charles I

The Horrid Murder of His Majestie, King Charles I

This morning, roughly 500 members of the King’s Army of the English Civil War Society marched through Whitehall – in the footsteps of King Charles I in commemoration of ‘His Majestie’s Horrid Murder’ at the hands of the Parliament in

Jan
25
2009